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Leading The New Normal, Rohit Chadda, The Transformational CEO Turns Around Zee Digital

He has proven that creating business opportunities is a fine blend of entrepreneurial spirit, innovative thinking, strategic planning, and quintessential execution harnessing human capital.

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Turning adversity into an opportunity is an acumen that can be a game-changer; Rohit Chadda, an investment banker turned business leader, has proved the same throughout his professional journey specially during difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic and the demonetization of 2016.

As per an old adage, experience is the best teacher but with the pace at which technology is evolving and changing the way we do business, learning and un-learning seems to be taking precedence over experience. No wonder large corporates are now looking at younger leaders in a bid to fast track their growth in this age of digital transformation. Leading the digital publishing business of Zee group at 38, Chadda is one of the youngest CEOs among the largest media houses of the country. 

Interestingly, even though Chadda has had no prior experience in either of the industries he has ventured into for each of his assignments thus far, he has come out successfully turning around the businesses thus truly highlighting the importance of speed, agility and learning in this digital age. Chadda today is known to have extensive global experience across e-commerce, OTT, fin-tech, payments, and media & entertainment industries over the past decade.

He has proven that creating business opportunities is a fine blend of entrepreneurial spirit, innovative thinking, strategic planning, and quintessential execution harnessing human capital.

Seasoned serial entrepreneur, Rohit Chadda co-founded food-ordering platform foodpanda.com and also launched ‘PayLo’ - a payments solution provider - in 2015. He ventured into the online food delivery category in emerging markets at a time when people hardly knew about it. As a true leader, he sensed the untapped potential in the category only to turn it into one of the fastest-growing and popular e-commerce verticals not only in India but globally.

Similarly, at the time when PayTM and Mobikwik were market leaders, Chadda tirelessly understood the nuances and intricacies of an online payment business to re-work a B2B model to launch multi-channel offline payments platform PayLo in 2016.

While also re-building the team for PayLo, Chadda’s smooth execution of his product and app crafted a success story during the demonetization period of 2016 when India was moving to a cashless society.

His domain expertise across several verticals spanning e-commerce to entertainment has given him the versatility to bring about the same business transformation in digital advertising and publisher monetization space as CEO-Digital Publishing in Zee Group.

Chadda has been instrumental in upscaling the business of Zee Digital to over 200+ million from 60 million users within a short period of 14 months making it the second-largest digital media group in India. Under his leadership, Zee Digital secured second position in 2020 in ComScore ranking. He attributes this success to the team’s focus on vernacular languages, through leveraging technology and making the most out of a data-driven approach towards enriching content. 

Chadda believes that execution and agility is the other compelling aspect that large corporates should embrace coupled with the ability to adapt to changes to sustain a successful business. Anticipating the growth in OTT consumption during the lockdown period, he was quick to launch TV Apps for Zee News on major connected TV platforms to capitalise on this growth opportunity.

Zee Digital successfully launched 8 new brand websites and 3 new languages under his leadership to expand the product portfolio to 20 brands and 12 languages covering content in News, Finance, Entertainment, Healthcare, Sports and Technology. Chadda was also credited for launching ZEE5 across 170 countries. It is considered to be the flagship OTT of Zee Entertainment. 

Based on the market demand in the Asia Pacific, Middle East, UK and North American markets, Chadda is currently focusing on enhancing future prospects of Zee Digital by focussing on key aspects like user-generated content among other things. He launched the English global news channel WION through a digital first approach across these markets during the US elections in November 2020.

A graduate in Computer Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering and an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM Calcutta), Rohit Chadda has many feathers in his cap. He was named Fortune 40 under 40 in 2015 and was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). 

Chadda has been felicitated with accolades like Professional Entrepreneur of the Year 2014, Young Professional of the Year by Asia Retail Congress 2014 and Top 25 e-commerce professionals in 2015. Earlier this year Indian Institute of Management Rohtak (IIM Rohtak) felicitated him for his contribution to the corporate world at their annual alumni meet.


Tags assigned to this article:
Zee Digital rohit chadda foodpanda PayLo Turnaround CEO